I really enjoy teaching at the Kitchen Engine in the Spokane Flour Mill. This family run kitchen store is chock full of an impressive array of everything for cooking anything! The class / teaching area is a well stocked kitchen with overhead monitors for easy viewing. In our last class we cooked a perfect paella, rich with the indescribable flavor of saffron and homemade chicken broth. This one-pan meal is great for a crowd and learning a few important techniques ensures great results.
A Cook With Us.com recipe
Seafood paella, a fragrant mixture of seafood, meat and rice originated along the Mediterranean coast of Valencia, Spain. Essentially a shepherd’s or fisherman’s pot luck meal, the carefully tended paellera set over an outdoor fire beckoned workers to a delicious meal graced with local ingredients seasonally available in the countryside.
1 pinch or ½ tsp. saffron threads
¼ cup olive oil
½ lb. or more Spanish style chorizo* sausage links, cut into rounds
1 chicken cut into 2” pieces with skin intact, leave legs whole
1 med. white onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
6 cups rich chicken broth
1 Tbl. Bittersweet Spanish paprika
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
½ tsp dried rosemary
½ tsp dried thyme
3 cups short grained Spanish rice*
1 – 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 lb. mussels, scrubbed clean
20 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup fresh or frozen peas
1 lemon, sliced into eighths for garnish
chopped chives or scallion for garnish
Add saffron to a half cup of warm water and allow to” bloom”. Bring chicken stock to a simmer.
Heat olive oil in the paella pan or a wide bottom skillet over med. high heat. Dry the chicken pieces and season liberally with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken well in the hot oil and remove to a platter. Brown the chorizo in the same manner and remove from pan. Add the onion to the pan and sauté until wilted, add the garlic and continue to cook and stir until soft. Take care not to burn the garlic as it will taste bitter. Add the wine and simmer until most is reduced.
Stir in the simmering chicken stock, ½ cup of saffron water, paprika, parsley, rosemary, thyme and salt. Bring to a gentle boil. Add the rice, (traditionally in the shape of a cross) fresh rosemary sprig, and peas, reduce heat to low, cook uncovered for about 10 minutes without stirring. Bury the chicken and sausage into the partially cooked rice and continue to cook uncovered for another ten minutes. ( Extra broth may be added if the rice is still hard and most of the liquid has been absorbed.) Next add the shrimp and mussels in the rice and continue to cook over low heat until the shrimp are pink and the rice is tender and the broth absorbed.
If extra liquid is needed to finish the cooking process, add only very hot water or broth as needed. When the cooking process is complete, remove pan from heat, cover, and let rest for a few minutes.
Serve paella right from the pan. Garnish with lemon slices placed in a ring around the pan and sprinkle with chopped chives or scallions.
Homemade aiole, ( garlic sauce ) is a typical accompaniment, usually served on the side.
Serves 8 – 10
* Spanish chorizo sausage can be ordered on line at La Tienda, but that option is expensive. I found a good chorizo at Pilgrims in Coeur d’ Alene, it wasn’t too highly flavored with Mexican spices and the texture was soft but slice-able. Other options could be a mild Italian or linguica sausage
* Spanish short grain rice, Bomba or Calaspara is most preferred because it is firm and absorbent and will soak up all the lovely juices of the paella. It is available online and in specialty markets. However, medium grain rice is a good substitute as it has a similar plump tender texture and is easy to find in American supermarkets. Long grain rice is a bit too hard and Asian varieties are too glutinous and gooey. Italian Arborio rice used in risotto is a good substitute also.
Socarrat is the crispy golden rice that sticks to the base and sides of the pan and is so prized by paella aficionados. Turn up the heat at the end of cooking to obtain socarrat.
In Spain paella is traditionally cooked by the men over an open fire. It can be prepared completely on the stove or baked in an oven after bubbles rising from the pan look thick and most of the rice appears at the surface.
There are a variety of ingredients that may be cooked in a paella. Tomatoes, red or green peppers, Italian beans, rabbit, squid, calamari, whatever is fresh local and in season.
Serve with a pitcher of icy Sangria
Sangria is the perfect summer party drink. Served in a icy glass pitcher, it invites with it’s sparkling ruby color and delightful citrusy fragrance.
2 oranges, sliced
1 lime sliced
1 can pineapple chunks with juice
1 cup fruit in season, choose berries, grapes, peaches etc.
1 bottle red wine (Merlot or Cabernet ) approx. 4 cups
2 cups orange juice
1 bottle sparking apple cider ( Martinelli’s)*
In a large glass pitcher place all the fruit, wine and orange juice. Let beverage sit for an hour or more to infuse the fruit flavors. Add the sparkling apple cider and ice, stir and serve each glass with a garnish of fresh mint or a wedge of lime.
*The Martinellis may be substituted with one cup of apple juice and 2 cups of club soda.
Some like a sweeter drink, optional sugar may be added to the fruit mixture.